AD says season is salvageable, supports Smith

Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart discusses the current men's basketball season with KSR columnist Larry Vaught. Even with the current season still in fullswing it appears that behind the scenes plans are being made for the future. Barnhart told Vaught that, "There will be things we need to adjust at the end of the year."

Kentucky athletics director Mitch wishes coach Tubby Smith's team had a far better record than the 15-9 mark it will take into Wednesday's game against Georgia. However, Barnhart has no second thoughts about what Smith has done. Instead, he thinks it is easy to see that not every player has the same "agenda" as the head coach.

"I think as a coach, you try to push a lot of different buttons in hopes of finding the one that makes things work. Sometimes when everyone has his own agenda, it is very difficult to get everyone on the same page," Barnhart said. "Right now, that is what we are struggling with. We have a lot of agendas that need to be placed on the same page, and I don't think there is any mystery in that.

"Players are frustrated. Coaches are frustrated. Administrators are frustrated. Fans are frustrated. There is enough frustration to go around. That doesn't mean the season is not salvageable. That doesn't mean there is not hope. It just means we have things that we have to work on.

"Your patience is always tested. This is real test for him (Smith) as to how he reacts and tries to move this team along as young people try to find their way."

Barnhart says no one anticipated the Wildcats struggling the way they have this season. However, he says some players simply have not matured the way they should have.

"We are obviously going through a difficult time right now with a lot of very young players that are a little immature both on the floor and off the floor. I will say that very candidly," Barnhart said. "We have to grow up in a lot of ways. Some young men grow up faster than others. Some take a little longer to find their way. I think this group is very capable of finding its way.

"This coach did not forget everything that got us to those two Elite Eights the last three years. He is still heck of a basketball coach. There will be things we need to adjust at the end of the year to get back to where we want to be, but we are not done with this season yet. We still have six games left. We have work left, but we still have chance to accomplish some things this year and I don't want anyone to lose sight of that. Tubby knows the problems."

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